The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Argh....the curse of the rectangular pizza

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murphalert's picture
murphalert

Argh....the curse of the rectangular pizza

Is there any fool proof way to obtain a round pizza? Mine keep coming out rectangular even when I am tossing them and stretching them, I think, equally on all sides. Its probably an operator error, and requires lots of experience to get right, but I thought I would ask.


Thanks!


Murphy

Crider's picture
Crider

sicilianbaker's picture
sicilianbaker

if the dough stretches back then it needs to be relaxed.. but its all about techniques and experience with these things.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

if your oven is rectangular and your pans have corners.  I make square pizzas all the time!


There are those who envy your ability!  :)

ehanner's picture
ehanner

crider, that's a pretty good video. My pizza got better as soon as I stopped using bread flour for the dough. AP flour or even the Italian 00 flour is much easier to shape and stretch without tearing. The first part of stretching by poking with the fingers to establish the shape. Practice practice.


Eric

clazar123's picture
clazar123

A couple suggestions. I concur that bread flour just makes a chewier,hard to  stretch crust. Use a lower gluten flour (AP as suggested) unless you like the chewier crust,which brings me to the next suggestion. It is ALL important to rest the dough in a ball for at least 15 minutes before shaping into a crust. It allows the fibers to relax and extend easily-as long as you handle it gently.


When the ball is relaxed, I generally flatten it gently into a disc and then stretch from underneath in each direction of the compass. I end up with a rectangle by design. Just add more compass points and it will round out. I think I tend to end up with a rectangle,also,because I am working  on a counter so tend to have some reaching issues in one direction.


If you stretch,handle too aggressively, it will instantly tighten up-like a muscle cramp. You then have to let it relax again.

Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

Pizza crust is about the only thing I use this low-protein (10.5%) flour for, and it makes a nice, easy to handle, crispy crust that doesn't fight you trying to stretch it out.

murphalert's picture
murphalert

Thank you to all of you! Your collective knowledge has armed me with a game plan. Those videos were totally awesome. (I'm more of a visual learner) I'm going to be making my next batch of dough this week, I'll post about how it turns out! But first things first, its time for English Muffins :)


Murphy

topslakr's picture
topslakr

I prefer to make mine with bread flour. I make the dough in the AM or the night before and let it rise on the counter all day. I went through a phase though where I ended up with rectangle pizzas. For me, it was because I was starting with a rectangle piece of dough. If I split the dough into end number of pizzas to be made, shape it into a ball and let it rise when I go to strech it comes out cicular. For a while I was letting the whole batch rise as one and then curtting off pieces... I ended up with mishapen pizzas since I started with a mishapen hunk. They all tasted good.. they just had some trouble fitting on the peel and stone :)


 


Robert

tattooedtonka's picture
tattooedtonka

I am one of those left I guess that still uses bread flour for my pizza's.  Heck sometimes I even use bagel flour.  I make pizza's about every other weekend or so.  Sometimes more.  I just posted a new blog entry from yesterdays pizza's if you are interested in looking.  I too am a picture person. I find it much easier to understand when I see it rather than just reading about it.


As to the shape part.  I use a pizza screen to make my pizza.  It cost about 4 dollars u.s. at a restaurant supply house.  And it makes it easy to get a good circle because you are working your dough up to the edges of the screen and the screen kind of grabs the dough a little and kinda holds it in place to an extent.  It also works well in that you do not need to worry about the pizza sticking to the peel.  I use my peel to pick up the pizza, screen and all and slide into oven onto stone.  I pull screen out about half way through so pizza browns a little on bottom but you could leave in the whole time, its designed to bake with.


Have a great day,


TT

asicign's picture
asicign

I use bread flour to which I add a little vital wheat gluten for an even higher protein content.  I do one overnight bulk ferment in the refrigerator, and one or two additonal cold ferments after I've made my dough balls.  I shape my pizzas as rectangles to fit a sheet of parchment paper which is just a tad smaller than my stone.

korish's picture
korish

That video is great I just made some Beer Pizza Dough yesterday I'm still on odd shape pizzas.


 


Pizza

macZiggy's picture
macZiggy

....Hi Gluten flour and then I add a tablespoon of extra gluten.  So, there is a lot of protein and the dough is incredibly stretchy.  I could throw it if I wanted to.  But it is still quite tender.


I have been using a Mario Batali dough recipe that also has olive oil, wine and honey in it for the last year.  I have tried other recipes but I always come back to this one.  These have been the BEST pizza doughs I have ever made and I am a pizza fanatic.  I make at least two/three each week.


I have a stone set on the bottom rung of the oven.  I preheat the oven to 550--the maximum.  I wait an extra 1/2 hour after it reaches that temp, then I pull the dough out onto my granite slab with a miniscule amount of flour.  Then I shape it by spreading it into a round circle.  If there is resistance, I let it rest for a few minutes. Then I place it onto a piece of parchment that rests on the pizza peel.  I cut the parchment until it follows the pizza shape so there is less chance of a fire in the oven.  Then I slide it from the peel onto the stone.


I also have a stone on a rack the next rung up in the open, so the pizza is pretty much completely surrounded in stone (except for the sides).  I have found that the toppings cook faster with the stone on top, although I try to keep the toppings very light.  I cook it for about 7 minutes and then it's done and comparable to California Pizza Kitchens pies.  It works amazingly well for me and I have done a lot of trial and error to get this to work--like eating nothing but pizza for a whole week until I got it right.  I like a thin bottom and an airy crust (so, when I'm handling the dough I am careful not to de-gas the crust).


I usually keep a week's worth of dough in the refrigerator in individual plastic containers.


It took me a while to get the dough the way I wanted it--literally two years. There are so many variables involved. 


I picked up a pie from Mozza 2Go, a new pizzeria in Los Angeles run by Nancy Silverton (Mario Batali is an owner too) and my pizzas are pretty close to these pies (but their toppings were extraordinary)!